Social Security Point-in-Time Service Updates

Thursday 7 December 2023 @ 10.45 a.m.

The Social Security Point-in-Time Service has been updated to include the Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Australia’s Engagement in the Pacific) Act 2023 (Cth) (Act 100 of 2023), the Disability Services and Inclusion (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Act 2023 (Act 103 of 2023), the Social Security and Other Legislation Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Act 2023 (Act 105 of 2023), and the Social Security and Other Legislation Amendment (Supporting the Transition to Work) Act 2023 (Act 106 of 2023).

Act 100 of 2023

The Act amends legislation to give effect to the Government’s commitment to introduce a new Pacific engagement visa, and to support implementation of family accompaniment under the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme. The Act extends supports and benefits to holders of Pacific engagement visas beyond the usual supports provided to permanent residents upon arrival in Australia, reflecting Australia’s special relationship with the Pacific and Timor-Leste.

Act 103 of 2023

The Act makes various amendments to existing Commonwealth legislation that are consequential to the repeal of the Disability Services Act 1986 (Cth) (the DS Act) and its replacement by the Disability Services and Inclusion Act 2023 (Cth) (the DSI Act), which received the Royal Assent on 4 December 2023.

The Act also sets out savings provisions and transitional arrangements for the transition period between the repeal of the DS Act and the implementation of the DSI Act. Critically, grant agreements made under the DS Act will continue to operate under the provisions of the DS Act until they conclude. All new grant agreements and financial arrangements will be made under the DSI Act.

Act 105 of 2023

The Act amends the Social Security Act 1991 (Cth), the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 (Cth) and the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977 (Cth). The amendments aim to ensure that Chapter 2D of the Social Security Act 1991 (Cth) operates as intended in order to allow the Australian Government to address rapidly changing employment and skills needs without delays caused by the need to wait for amendments to the Financial Framework (Supplementary Powers) Regulations 1997.

Act 106 of 2023

The Act amends the Social Security Act 1991 (Cth), the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 (Cth) and the family assistance law to encourage and support social security and veterans’ entitlement recipients to engage in paid employment. To achieve this, the Act amends relevant legislation to make changes to the pension work bonus scheme and expand access to the employment income nil rate period, as well as extending the length of the employment income nil rate period where it applies.

The Act enables eligible social security pensioners over age pension age and certain veterans’ entitlement recipients over qualifying age to earn up to $4,000 before the income test is applied and their payments are affected. This will occur through a $4,000 increase in the work bonus unused concession balance for all newly commencing eligible recipients. Further, the current temporary $4,000 increase to the maximum unused concession balance, from $7,800 to $11,800, will be available to all eligible pensioners on an ongoing basis.

The Act also enables eligible social security recipients, including recipients who take up full-time work, to benefit from an extended employment income nil rate period of 24 weeks under the Social Security Act 1991 (Cth). This will allow more recipients to continue to access supplementary benefits, such as concession cards and additional child care subsidy, where their own and/or their partner’s income (including some employment income) is above the relevant income limit, for a longer period. Recipients will also have an extended period in which their payment can be easily restored if they lose their job or report a fall in income that results in their payment becoming payable again.

These measures are intended to be beneficial both in the current economy and over the long term. These measures also encourage workforce participation, which may assist in addressing current skills and labour shortages.

These amendments have been updated in the Point-in-Time Social Security Service current to 7 December 2023. (NB: Subscription required).

If you are not already a subscriber to this or other Point-in-Time Services then please contact us to find out more or to take a free trial.